*As I have stated in previous H1N1 articles, I am in no way shape or form telling anyone to not get the vaccination or to not take proper hygienic precautions to keep themselves from getting this virus and others.*

The H1N1 virus has been hitting the public schools and colleges around the United States somewhat hard already this fall. And being a parent myself, I know how unnerving all of this “swine flu” information can be. As with any influenza virus, it is not something to mess around with. However, I do feel that it is being blown a bit out of proportion. I have been told by several close friends that are practicing doctors that the H1N1 virus is not as serious in typical cases as the usual seasonal flu that we are vaccinated for each year. The mortality rate is significantly lower with the H1N1 virus, and lasting effects seem so far to be minimal as well.
This has also been reported by several health organizations such as the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), as seen in this report http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/Documents/0908_Influenza_AH1N1_Risk_Assessment.pdf. It is also now being reported that WHO health officials are admitting that the virus has not mutated into a more severe strain. Even as recent as September 24 at a press conference in Geneva, WHO Director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research, Dr Marie-Paule Kieny stated that “we are lucky that the pandemic is moderate in severity that most people experience a mild illness and recover spontaneously.”

It seems like such a little thing to make such a huge fuss and spend billions of dollars in getting largely untested vaccines out to the whole world. In my opinion, your best defense is still the basics. Wash your hands several times a day, especially after using the restroom and before eating or coming home from the store. Avoid large crowds when possible, and keep away from those who are suspected to have any form of illness. I like to carry the anti bacterial hand gel around so we can sanitize our hands as soon as we leave high traffic places or in case we run into the occasional public restroom out of hand soap.

Sources:

http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/Documents/0908_Influenza_AH1N1_Risk_Assessment.pdf

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=13803 (reports on WHO officials’ quotes on H1N1 severity)

Also, although there are some articles posted in which I do not share the same view point, there is a continuous flow of H1N1 information on this site:

http://www.theflucase.com/

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